1/72 scale – Kit No. AO28
Decals: Three versions (French Air Force, French Navy, South Vietnamese Air Force)
Comments: Engraved panel lines, resin parts for cockpit and cabin interior
The Morane-Dassault 312/315 Flamant (“Flamingo”) was a post-war twin-engine light transport employed by the French as a liasion and communications aircraft. It was developed from the prototype MD 303, a plane specifically designed to meet an Armee de l’Air requirement for a colonial communications aircraft. After its maiden flight on July 6, 1947, the 312/315 was put into service with the Armee de l’ Air and the Aeronautique Navale, and saw action both as a liasion plane and counterinsurgency aircraft in the French colonial wars of the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Serving in Algeria, it was outfitted with machine guns, rockets and missiles for counterinsurgency operations.
The Flamant has engraved panel lines, a choice of nose sections, and several large cabin windows. The French military used it as a transport to maintain communications in its far-flung colonies in Algeria, Cameroon and Vietnam.
Many Dassault-built MD 312/315 aircraft were exported and flown by the air forces of former French colonies, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Tunisia, Madagascar and Cameroon. There were three primary versions of the Flamant: The MD 315 was a 10-seat colonial communication aircraft; the MD 312 was a six-seat transport; and MD 311 served as a navigation trainer and had a distinctive glazed nose for use in training both navigators and bombardiers. The Flamant had a crew of two and could carry up to ten passengers. The last known operational Flamant was withdrawn from service in 1982.
Length: 41 ft.
Wingspan: 67 ft. 10 in.
Height: 14 ft. 9 in.
Powerplant: Two Renault 12S 02-201 inline piston engines, each of 580 hp
Maximum speed: 190 mph
Service ceiling: 26,000 ft.
Weight empty: 9,370 lbs.
Weight fully loaded: 12,760 lbs.
Maximum Take-off Weight: 12,787 lbs.
The Flamant is molded in grey and consists of 82 injection molded plastic and 31 resin parts. The engine exhausts and cowlings are resin, as are the passenger seats (12 are provided, but only 10 are needed), while the cockpit seats are detailed, injection molded plastic. The cockpit has good detail, featuring not only individual seats, but control columns and rudder pedals for the pilot and co-pilot, and includes a photo-etch instrument panel and other controls. There is additional PE for the landing gear and communications antenna. The instructions offer a clear paint guide and are well illustrated. Although the instructions do not reference the choice, probably because no parts are provided for the interior of the nose section, alternate parts are provided for either the MD 312/315 solid-nosed transport or the MD 311 glazed-nose version employed as a navigation trainer and bomber.
Decals are by Azur with realistic color and are completely in register. They include markings for a French Armee de l’Air version, circa 1966 (natural metal paint scheme with orange wingtips, nose, and an orange band on the fuselage immediately forward of the tail section; a French Aeronautique version, circa 1960 (overall natural metal), and a South Vietnamese Air Force version, circa 1954 (also in overall natural metal).
Azur’s Flamant is a highly detailed and interesting piece of Cold War history, as it models an aircraft designed specifically to help France maintain communication with its colonies and put down insurgencies within them in the post-war era — and for this the Flamant is noteworthy for its service in both Algeria and Vietnam. With its multi-media components, it provides great detail and a challenge for any modeler. Highly recommended.
There are clear parts for the cockpit, cabin windows, and even a glazed nose for the navigator trainer version, which was employed along with the solid-nosed version in a counterinsurgency role in Africa and Asia.